A Primer on Ontario Health Teams
In 2019, the Government of Ontario introduced Ontario Health Teams (OHTs) as a way to better connect a fragmented healthcare system. Since then, 54 teams have been approved by the government across the province (with potentially four more to come). This means that over 95% of the province is covered by an OHT, and with the addition of the last four there will be 100% coverage. The model is intended to strengthen the integration of local services, making it easier for patients to navigate the system and transition between providers. OHTs are the vehicle to make this happen.
Under OHTs, healthcare providers (including hospitals, doctors and home and community care providers) work as a coordinated team, with a goal of easier access to health care and better health outcomes for community members.
- OHT priorities include:
- Access to primary care
- Chronic diseases (stroke, diabetes, congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive disease)
- Mental health and addictions
- Palliative care
- Transitions from hospital to home, including the role of community support services (CSS) like the LEGHO (Let’s Go Home) program, which provides a bundle of CSS services to help patients transition back to independence after leaving hospital
- Alternate level of care clients (i.e., clients who can’t be discharged from hospital as there is not a space or the appropriate amount and level of care available to them in the community)
- Emergency department diversion
How is VON involved with OHTs?
VON is a committed and engaged OHT partner. Currently, VON provides services within 32 of the 54 OHT areas. We are participating in varying degrees with our area OHTs. This may include joining working groups, providing leadership on advisory councils and providing consultation and sector expertise as members on sector councils.
VON has a role to play in the modernization of home care and the expansion of integrated delivery models that directly improve system capacity and resource challenges. Our team is working hard to get the word out that home and community care is a critical component of our health system and people want to age in place with appropriate supports.
We bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the various OHT tables.
- Broad geographical coverage across the province
- Expertise in home care, CSS and primary care (through our nurse practitioners)
- Breadth and depth of CSS program delivery, as the largest multi-service CSS provider in Ontario (including Assisted Living, Enhanced Adult Day Program, LEGHO and respite services)
- Experience with self-managed service programs, such as Seniors Managing Independent Living Easily (SMILE)
- In-house expertise and strength with navigation services and assessments (InterRAI)
- A history as good system partners with established formal partnerships in the delivery of integrated and new models of care
This is an exciting, albeit challenging, time for health care, however, home and community services is a key component to the solution. If you are interested in learning more about OHTs, ask your leader how VON is contributing to the transformation and modernization of health care in Ontario through OHTs within your region.